Aubergine, tomato and mozzarella bake
This dish, as the name implies, only has three main ingredients. Surely, just three little things can’t be that much of a big deal? After all, we’re now living in a world where getting creative in the kitchen is not only encouraged, but expected. We can now all call ourselves foodies, rhyme off a list of weird and wonderful ingredients from every corner of the world with encyclopaedic knowledge. We love chucking as many things into the cooking pot as we possibly can.
Sometimes though, its worth stripping things back a bit. This dish isn’t fancy, it isn’t clever and it won’t win you any awards for innovation but I can assure you, it is darn tasty. The aubergine cooks down to an almost creamy consistency which blends beautifully with the tangy tomato sauce and melting mozzarella. It made my Thursday dinner a delight!
1 large aubergine (eggplant)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tsp dried basil
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 ball fresh mozzarella cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
Lay out some paper towels, then cut the aubergine into 1cm slices and arrange evenly. Sprinkle with some sea salt and leave to sit for 20 minutes. This process will draw out all of the bitter juices in the aubergine and give it a sweeter taste when cooked. After 20 minutes, use a paper towel to pat off any moisture and remove any excess salt.
Heat the vegetable oil in a large frying pan and pan fry the aubergine slices for a couple of minutes on each side – just enough to give them a light brown colour. Remove from the pan and set aside.
In the same pan, fry the minced garlic and dried basil for 2 minutes before adding in the tinned tomatoes, sugar and apple cider vinegar. Taste for salt and pepper and let simmer for 10 minutes until the sauce starts to thicken before removing from the heat.
To assemble the bake, spoon 1/3 of the sauce into a shallow casserole dish, top with half of the aubergine slices then tear up half of the mozzarella cheese and arrange evenly. Spoon over another 1/3 of the sauce before topping with the remaining aubergine. Finally spoon over the last of the sauce and the remaining shredded mozzarella. Bake uncovered in the oven at 180˚C for 25 minutes until the cheese is golden and bubbling.
This is delicious served on its own with crusty bread to mop up the juices or served over boiled rice.